by Bernhard Roetzel, a freelance fashion writer from Berlin, Germany. The first edition of his book “Gentleman, A Timeless Fashion” has been translated in 18 more languages.

The Art of Shaving

Over the winter holidays I had grown a beard.

When I entered my favourite men’s grooming supplier “The English Scent” in Berlin to buy some soap the owner commented my facial hair with the words another one lost for the world of refined shaving culture.

This made me think.

Of course the office worker will get tired of having to shave every morning once in a while. And some men hate the daily task so much that they stop it. But they will realize sooner or later that growing a beard doesn’t mean that you won’t waste time in front of the bathroom mirror anymore. On the contrary. It may actually take more time to keep a beard in shape than to shave it off.

And a beard will make most men look grumpy and all men older. Especially fortysomethings because more and more white hair will crop up. You won’t even reduce the danger of hurting yourself with sharp objects. I remember catching my left earlobe with the scissors that I used for trimming my beard which resulted in blood dripping on my collar later.

Shaving is similar to eating. You have to do it so you’d better enjoy it.

I have met an Italian shoe agent in Florence last year who said that he hates food and eating. Every meal is a nightmare for him. I really don’t envy this man although he probably saves a lot of time and money because of his rather strange aversion.

I mentioned this eccentric to explain that we shouldn’t take for granted that everybody enjoys the same things. We shouldn’t expect everyone to hate the same things either.

Some folks really love shaving because:

a) it is a wonderful ritual that helps you to start the day peacefully;
b) it is a great excuse to spend money on various beautiful products;
c) you can treat yourself to a professional shave whenever you need it, and last but not least;
d) it symbolizes manhood.

Check out the Alister & Paine Guide to Shaving Gear